A 5-year-old “all filled up with feelings” dreams of wings and walruses in this ruminative import.
Joseph dislikes being repeatedly dubbed “Gremlin” for supposed misbehavior (he’d much rather be a glorious griffin), and after one too many parental scoldings, he demands another mother. His mom’s sharp offer of a “walrus mommy” who “lives on the banks of the North Pole” sends him scooting outdoors in mingled anger and repentance to sulk beneath a favorite tree. Soon he’s in an icy clime, riding around on a friendly walrus’s back…until he remembers that he’s neither a gremlin nor a griffin but a boy and races happily back into the house. Joseph’s mother comes off here as particularly temperamental and unsympathetic, but she does allow herself to be pulled outside to see, if not walruses, a nest of bright goldfinches in the tree. Blending multiple layers of crayon and colored pencil, Godbout models idyllic settings of rounded forms and soft surfaces, most of which are seen from Joseph’s low point of view as he stumps about in yellow boots. His changing moods are signaled by expressive eyebrows on an oversized, apple-cheeked face. He is an articulate narrator, but occasional wordless spreads and sequences illuminate the thoughts and experiences he maps in his monologue.
A stormy clash between parent and child ends with sunshine and bird song. (Picture book. 4-6)